After his appointment by Governor Nathan Deal in November 2012, Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery D. Niles was sworn into office by the Governor and endorsed by a unanimous vote of the DJJ Board. Today, Commissioner Niles leads a workforce of more than 4,300 state juvenile correctional employees working in 26 facilities and 97 community services offices engaged in the restorative justice of more than 13,000 Georgia youths.
With 30-plus years of distinguished criminal justice and correctional experience, Commissioner Niles built his corrections career as Warden of the Hall County Correctional Institute and Commander of the Hall County Detention Center. Niles spent more than 20 years in the Hall County Sheriff’s Office where he rose through the line from Patrolman to Sergeant in Juvenile Investigations; ranked First Lieutenant while serving as Assistant Commander ofPatrol Division; and served as Lieutenant in the Work Release/House Arrest Division before assuming command of the adult detention center.
In 2011, Commissioner Niles was appointed to the Department of Juvenile Justice Board and in 2012, was elected Chairman of the DJJ Board. Governor Deal has since appointed Commissioner Niles to the Accountability Courts Funding Committee, Georgia’s Juvenile Justice Incentive Grant Program Funding Committee, the Office of ChildAdvocate Nominating Committee, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), and the Department of Community Supervision Board. In 2014, Commissioner Niles was appointed by Governor Deal as State Council Chairman of the Georgia State Council for Interstate Juvenile Supervision. Also in 2014, Niles was nationally elected to the American Correctional Association (ACA) Board of Governors, serving in the “Institutions” arena.
Commissioner Niles serves as Chairman of the statewide grant funding committee for the Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) and as a member of First Lady Sandra Deal’s Children’s Executive Cabinet. In 2016, Commissioner Niles was selected as a member of the 24th GILEE delegation to Israel and elected by the class as spokesman for the law enforcement contingent on their trip.
In June 2017 the Urban League of Greater Atlanta presented Commissioner Niles with the ‘Spirit of the League’ Community Partner Exemplar Award and in August 2017, Niles joined the Juvenile Justice Leadership Network (JJLN). JJLN membership is sponsored by the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators to encourage the nation’s top professionals to engage other national leaders in the field with their commitment to juvenile justice reforms. Members share concepts, methods and successful approaches for replacing the practice of institutionalizing juveniles in state custody.
Commissioner Niles has served as 2nd Vice President of the Georgia Prison & Warden’s Association and is active in the National Sheriff’s Association, the Peace Officers Association of Georgia, the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Georgia Sheriff’s Association, and F.C.A of Gainesville-Hall County.
In2018, Governor Nathan Deal appointed Niles as a member of Georgia’s ‘Complete Count Committee’. The goal of the Governor’s new committee is to coordinate public awareness about the upcoming nationwide population census. Results from the official federal ‘CENSUS2020’ will determine congressional representation for Georgia and the state’s next decade of federal grant allocations. The State of Georgia will count on Commissioner Niles and other serving committee members to help mobilize Georgia residents to fill out America’s Census scheduled for April 1st, 2020.
Most recently, Commissioner Niles was nominated Board Chair of the Department of Community Services (DCS). DCS is responsible for supervision of about 180,000adult felony offenders and designated juvenile offenders. The DCS Board provides critical guidance and oversight to ensure the agency follows its long-term goals and the best interests of Georgia citizens. The department makes positive changes in the community by using evidence-based practices and providing programs, assistance, and individual support to hold these offenders accountable and reduce their recidivism rate.
A graduate of Columbus State University’s Georgia Law Enforcement Command College (Class #52), Commissioner Niles is a strong proponent of continuing law enforcement education. Niles received his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the Georgia Law Enforcement Command College in Columbus. He is a graduate of the Georgia Police Academy, FBI National Academy, National Association of Child Abuse Investigation, Internal Affairs Investigator Association, Georgia Police Chief Executive Training, Georgia State Board of Funeral Services and Leadership Hall County.
Commissioner Niles resides in Gainesville with his wife Charlene, his daughter Brittani and his god-daughter Jemiah. He is a Deacon at the Antioch Baptist Church and active with local civic groups including United Way of Hall County and the Hall County Civic Association, Gainesville College Foundation Board, the Gainesville Boys & Girls Club, Kiwanis Club of Gainesville, and the Gainesville-Hall County Roundtable Association.